The premier Unreal single player site
Unreal Beta Guide
Unreal Beta Walkthrough
1. Vortex Rikers
Map Author: Cliff Bleszinski
In the original game, we started with 12 health left and with a "reborn" effect. In the Beta, guess what... You start with 100 health, but a nanosecond later and... BOOM. Something (apparently the gameplay script which is unfinished) takes your health down to 12, combined with a very loud scream that really makes you jump (well, being damaged heavily in the VR is really weird).
The prison area appears somewhat less broken than in the original one, and it's flooded (not really, just a sheet to simulate the effect). There are other differences, though: no Universal Translator, no messages, the lift is now activated by a computer nearby (it says "Access Permitted" if you press it) and the closed door and the ledge below it have disappeared (replaced with an Inuit Corporation symbol). Also, no torture chamber, with the door being closed. Finally, the falling stone event that happens when you walk on the second floor in the released version doesn't happen (you can see the fallen light in the screen but everything else is all right).
Continuing through the vent shaft, we notice that the green lights in the tubes are unsourced (in the released version there was glowing steam from broken pipes) and there is no blood or human body, dor does the released version's fleeting glimpse of a Skaarj take place.
We finally arrive at the bridge, and so the music starts. This part appears very similar to the released version, but less broken, textured differently, no "screaming Ash" and the door to the weird room present in the released version is closed (I'm talking about those inaccessible Crew Berths, used in Operation Na Pali as the second bridge). No messages also, nor for the rest of the level.
There's also an unfinished version of the Kevlar Suit Corridor. The floor isn't mirrored, and there's no Kevlar Suit room: just a 90° degree curve. For the rest, nothing else, apart the famous Health pack found in there.
Now let's continue the journey to the corridor leading to the Med Lab (without the dangerous broken light and pool of blood). The Med room appears pretty identical to the released version, but it seems there's more gore there:
And now there's the oddball: the room after the Med Lab has been always strange with those "warning" messages on the wall, when the real purpose of the room was unclear (other than a place for two health packs). But in the beta it is completely different. There's a big machine in the middle of the room (a telescope?) and a computer in front of it. If you press the computer the big thing moves. What the hell happens? Behind the computer, a door opens revealing those Health Packs. Really dumb, all of this confusion for a damn door. Maybe the machine was supposed to be dangerous if you went near it, explaining the warning messages on the wall.
Err, now there's the Skaarj scene. No change of song section here, just silence, as there isn't any 2nd track in the beta Vortex.umx. The room you're trapped in during the scene is the same. Two, lame differences though: first of all, no door closes behind you, but just a iron bar. Why does it fall after I pass...? But that happens even in other levels in the released version, so I guess I shouldn't complain. But it is lame because you can easily pass it by jumping. Thanks to God ol' Cliffy created that door.
Now for the Skaarj appearance, which is kinda lame here. The familiar sounds and shooting effects are present, but the gibs are already on the ground (in the released version they fly after you open the door). The Skaarj is placed further from you now, and so he doesn't give you that sudden "BOO!" effect after the door is opened.
So let's go through the corridor. No differences here. And with a Dispersion Pistol that shoots projectiles similar to the Skaarj ones (a difference, anyway; I think it was changed in the released version to make the Dispersion Pistol a human weapon?). And we arrive at the ventilation room. It appears brighter, the breakable window is the same as in the released version, and that big red door in the middle of the two vents is replaced with another. You can still use the broken vent on the right hand side to pass to the other side.
The lift in the next room is different. Firstly, the button is a cube rather than the "I"-shaped lever and the lift is somewhat unnatural and weird, looking like a large ramp (which would make people slide).
The infamous closed door behind the lift (on the second floor) is still there (I really wanted to know if Cliffy deleted a scene here. After that door there's a small room that lead to the bridge. Probably an escape route).
Finally, we have the exit, and the room is actually closed with glass that you have to break. If you touch this glass the computer says "Access Denied". Very funny because it would always be Access Denied: this is static glass and not a moving door. The method to exit is the same here, but the "I" lever is replaced with a diamond-shaped button. In the bottom of the hole there isn't iron, but rock and terrain.
Vortex Rikers ends. What's up with the different ground in the hole? See the next part of this article.